“I’m the broken thing they made out of Peter Parker”
The FINAL FATE of DAZZLER revealed.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Dave Marquez
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Dave Marquez & Rainer Beredo
Assistant Editor: Emily Shaw
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Plot: While Cloak and Dagger continue their origin, Aunt May returns home with some groceries, Miles and Kate do their homework and Jessica Drew reveals her biggest secret.
Thoughts: This is an iconic cover and a significant contrast to the cover from two issues ago (itself an homage to an iconic cover). Miles thought he could throw his costume away, but is slowly realising he can’t retire from being Spider-Man. Underneath he knows, he is Spider-Man, and when you fall down “you get up”. I really like the frustration on his face, as it shows how he has felt over the last few issues as Ganke, Gwen and Jessica have relentless lectured him about his retirement. Thematically it ties to the story and it’s great to see Marvel commissioning such covers for Ultimate Spider-Man, as historically the covers for this and previous volumes have been bland images of Spider-Man swinging or crawling against various backdrops. I am not someone who insists that the cover tease a scene from the issue, but I do like it when there is a tangential link.
Unfortunately the issue doesn’t really deliver on the promise of this intense cover, as much of it seems unnecessary. It’s mostly filler to get us to what is, admittedly, a great final scene. More on that later.
The issue starts at Peter Parker’s old home. As I mentioned last time, it’s great that Aunt May and Gwen still have a role to play in Spider-Man’s ongoing saga. However in this issue they do nothing more than remind the reader of the current status quo. A status quo that’s been in place for two issues now, and was explained in the recap page for anyone not in the know. It’s a rather pointless scene and doesn’t move us forward or add anything to either character. In comparison to the previous issue where Gwen delivered a powerful and motivating speech, seeing her here texting from the couch is like seeing how John McClane spent Christmas Day. It’s anti climatic. Similarly the scene between Ganke and Miles feels like a repeat of a previous conversation and lacks the charm that made their friendship so endearing in the early days of the series. Ganke’s feelings towards the retirement have already been made clear, and he comes across a little naive here, arguing over whether Miles killed his mother, or if a stray bullet did. The difference to Miles is non-existent and Ganke is usually more preceptive than this.
The final scene between Miles and Jessica is my favourite part of the issue. Jessica has come to Miles’ home, and the dark setting created by Marquez and Ponsor suggests this is her last effort to try to get through to him. Marquez has drawn her to look defeated, as she stares into Miles empty mask, and reveals her origin to him. While this is something longtime readers already know, it’s a major status quo change for Miles to be included in the secret. As Bendis’ strength as a writer is creating engaging conversation I would happily have read an entire issue based around this scene. Given it’s importance, to this arc and the overall mythos of the series, an approach similar to Ultimate Spider-Man #13 wouldn’t have been out of place. Miles and Jessica are both trying to live up to the memory of a martyr, and feel like they are unworthy. Jessica’s identity issues and her realisation that she can’t be Spider-Man have a great impact on Miles and deserve more room to breathe. It seems that Bendis is trying to give Jessica her own motivations, and move her away from being a “clone” of Peter, which is healthy for the character’s longevity, and more interesting to readers. Her honesty regarding how she was created and her emotional declaration to Miles that he is Spider-Man is enough to finally end his retirement.
The final page of the issue gives the audience a real moment to cheer as Spider-Man and Spider-Woman swing together through the city as a new sun rises behind them. Using Miles to retell Spider-Man No More gave us some good insight into Miles, and overall the pitstop was enjoyable, however three issues in the idea has been fully explored, and it’s good to see the story will now move on.
Strangely this issue also resolved a hanging plot point from Ultimatum (One you probably didn’t even care about). We believed that the Ultimate X-men’s Dazzler had died during the New York flood, however this issue hints that Alison Blaire is alive and working as a realtor to help Aunt May sell her home. I’m sure, like me, you don’t really know what to do with that information.
Grade – C: A disappointing issue of Ultimate Spider-Man is still able to get me existed for the next issue. Miles and Jessica’s scene and some strong art are enough to secure a passing grade. However the slow start and repetition keep it from being a great issue.